M.K. VIDYARANYA writes from Bangalore: Is the Congress begining to fish in the troubled waters of the BJP, and is the Grand Old Party inclined to share power with the Reddy brothers in Karnataka if the BJP is unable to thrash out a compromise in its “Gateway to the South” by this evening?
Sources in New Delhi say that the Congress, through Union law minister and former Karnataka chief minister Veerappa Moily, has conveyed it to the mining lords that if they were able to muster the strength of 79 legislators, the Congress would consider supporting them in case B.S. Yediyurappa is asked by the Governor H.R. Bharadwaj, to prove his majority on the floor of the house.
(Moily is the Congress functionary in charge of Andhra Pradesh and therefore close YSR‘s son Jagan Mohan Reddy, a business partner of the Reddys. Moily, who now writes long books on the epics and headed the administrative reforms committee, was also at the centre of the infamous ‘Moily Tapes’ to overthrow Ramakrishna Hegde‘s Janata Party government in the mid-1980s by buying up MLAs.)
Meanwhile, in a significant realignment, a number of BJP legislators who are supporting the Reddy brothers are apparently pressuring the national BJP leaders to choose Gali Janardhana Reddy as the BJP legislature party leader and make him CM, if it did not prefer any other candidate.
This follows the rebuff apparently delivered by the “former future prime minister of India”, L.K. Advani, to the speaker Jagadish Shettar when he was put up before the party high command as a possible alternative. The shift, say party observers, might be a short-term ploy on the part of Reddy brothers if they are unable to achieve their ostensible aim of making Shettar as the CM to woo the Lingayat community for future gains.
Photograph: A sandalwood model of the Vidhana Soudha on sale in Bangalore (Krishnamurthy Vidyaranya)